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Jackson announces his retirement from baseball

NEW YORK -- Conor Jackson has officially ended his professional baseball career, it was announced by the Orioles' Triple-A affiliate on Sunday afternoon.

""He loved being with the organization and all that, but he was at a stage in his life where it wasn't something he wanted to continue to do," said manager Buck Showalter, who exchanged text messages with Norfolk manager Ron Johnson about the retirement. "I know a little bit more from that, but that's something that should come from Conor. He was at a stage in his life where he wanted to move on. And I respect him for it.

"He had just been thinking about it for a little while. Just didn't enjoy going the park the way he used to."

Over a seven-year career with stints in Arizona, Oakland and Boston, Jackson hit .271 with 52 homers and 295 RBIs.

Signed as a Minor League free agent this winter, the 30-year-old Jackson had a solid spring, but he was the final roster cut, as the Orioles opted to take Steve Pearce as the extra outfielder/first baseman.

Jackson's departure clears a spot for Lew Ford to be promoted to Norfolk from Double-A Bowie.

"Part of me hates to see him go, but I want him to be happy, too," Showalter said of Jackson, whose career almost ended in 2009, when he was diagnosed with Valley Fever and limited to just 30 games. Jackson played for the White Sox Triple-A team last year and was a strong bet to get a callup to Baltimore at some point this season given the organization's wealth of roster moves and how highly they thought of Jackson following this spring.

"He's got a lot of things going for him," Showalter said. "He's a smart, well educated guy that can do other things with his life other than play in Norfolk. And I respect that."

Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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